Lionel Messi ‘will sign new deal and finish career at Barcelona’, says club president with Man City tipped for transfer

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LIONEL MESSI will end his career at Barcelona, according to club president Josep Maria Bartomeu.

That will come as a blow to the likes of Juventus and Manchester City, who have been linked with a sensational move for arguably football’s best ever.

The 33-year-old, who signed his last contract in 2017, has become more outspoken against the club’s hierarchy in the last year.

Spanish radio station Cadena Ser recently reported that he is unhappy with how Barca is being run and wants to leave in 2021.

There have also been rumours of a fall-out with manager Quique Setien and team-mate Antoine Griezmann.

But Bartomeu is relaxed about the situation and believes Barca’s star man will stay at the Nou Camp.

Speaking to Spanish network Movistar after his side beat Villarreal 4-1 away on Sunday in La Liga, Bartomeu said: “Messi has said he will end his working and footballing life at Barca.

“I’m not going to explain the details because we are focused on the competition and we are negotiating with many players.

“But Messi has explained to us that he wants to stay and so we’re going to enjoy him for much longer.”

Spanish football expert Graham Hunter told talkSPORT that Manchester City should go ‘hell for leather’ to sign Messi.

But he doubts whether boss Pep Guardiola is confident he could fit the Argentinian international into his system.

Barca beat Villarreal on Sunday to stay in the title hunt with La Liga leaders Real Madrid, who hold a four-point advantage

A Sergio Ramos penalty saw Los Blanco beat Athletic Bilbao 1-0.

The spot kick was awarded following a VAR review while Athletic had their own penalty appeal turned down.

And Bartomeu said the technology was not being applied fairly since the season resumed following the coronavirus stoppage.

He added: “I saw the game in Bilbao and although I don’t like to say it, I’ll repeat that VAR is not being used as it should be.

“Since the season returned after the Covid-19 crisis it has not been equal, that has been reflected in the results and it looks as if it always favours the same team.

“VAR should be there to help out the referee but in the last few weeks everyone has been able to see the instances in which it has not been used fairly.”

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